If you need to transfer a used car title showing vehicle ownership, you may do so only at a motor vehicle agency. Used car title transactions cannot be handled through the mail. To ensure the proper transfer of documents and to avoid penalties, please follow the following guidelines.
Please note that the following guidelines pertain strictly to New Jersey. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV in New York) or Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC in New Jersey) rules and guidelines vary from state to state. Please double check with your local DMV or MVC office for the latest updates.
One typical rule when comparing New Jersey and New York differences would be that in New Jersey the lien holder will always hold the title until the vehicle is paid in full. Once the loan is satisfied the lien holder, usually the finance company or bank, will mail the owner the title.
In New York the same situation is quite different. The owner will receive the title usually within 60 days, however the title will show there is a lien holder on it. When buying a vehicle from New York make sure to receive the Lien Release letter showing that the vehicle has been paid in full.
When Buying or Selling a Used Car in NJ
When selling a used car the seller must:
- Remove the plates and surrender them to a motor vehicle agency or full service agency, unless the plates are being transferred to another vehicle (plates can be transferred to another vehicle, but not to another owner).
- Sign in the seller’s section of the reverse side of the title and give it to the buyer, along with a bill of sale including the following information:
- Buyer’s name and address;
- Date of sale;
- Mileage odometer reading (see below); and
- Sale price.
When buying a used car the buyer must:
- Sign in the buyer’s section on the reverse side of the title and insert their driver’s license or Entity Identification Number (EIN-formerly Corpcode).
- Visit a motor vehicle agency to transfer the title, complete the Vehicle Registration Application (Form BA-49) if applicable, and receive the license plates.
- What to bring to the agency if you need to title and register a vehicle that was:
- To avoid a $25 penalty, New Jersey or dealer reassigned titles must be transferred within 10 working days from the date of sale.
Transfer of NJ Used Car Title in the Event of Death of an Owner
A vehicle registered in the name of a decedent may be operated for 30 days after the date of death. All documents must be brought to a motor vehicle agency or full service agency to complete the transaction.
If the title is in both the husband and wife’s name:
- Submit the old title, a copy of the death certificate and a notarized Affidavit (Form BA-62)
- The $60 title fee will apply (the existing registration can be transferred for an additional $4.50). If the vehicle was left in a will:
- Submit the old title properly assigned by the executor of the estate and a Surrogate’s Short Certificate
- Pay the $60 title fee (the existing registration can be transferred to an immediate member of the family for $4.50)
Transfer of NJ Used Car Title From an Estate
- Apply for a Entity Identification Number (EIN – formerly CorpCode).
- Once received, bring the EIN, the old title, the Surrogate’s Short Certificate, and your driver’s license as proof of identification to a motor vehicle agency.
- Pay the $60 title fee (or $85 for a financed vehicle title fee)
- In addition, a new registration and proof of New Jersey insurance in the estate name is necessary if the vehicle will be operated.
What if the Owner Dies Without a Will
- Present the current title along with an Affidavit of Surviving Spouse/Domestic Partner/Civil Union Partner, which must include the raised seal of the County Surrogate, of the county where the decedent lived at the time of death. An original death certificate and a notarized MVC Affidavit (Form BA-62) are also required.
The MVC accepts American Express® card, Visa® card, MasterCard®, Discover card®, check, money order or cash.
- Odometer’s Mileage Reading
You are required to provide an accurate odometer reading at the time of sale to show whether the vehicle has passed its mechanical limitations and is on a second or third cycle. If the actual odometer reading is inaccurate, the seller must give an estimate of what the actual reading should be. Download a copy of the Universal Title Application
Liens noted on the decedent’s title shall be paid before a new title is issued unless the lien on the title is being transferred to the sole owner. Contact your lending institution for more information.
- Sales Tax
A vehicle is only exempt from sales tax if the customer indicates on the purchase price line on the reverse side of the title that it is a gift. See more information on vehicle sales tax exemptions.